Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Teen Vogue Creates New National Back-to-School Shopping Holiday

The magazine, focused on meeting the life and style needs of young girls ranging between tween and teenager, wants to dedicate one day to back-to-school shopping for their readers.

Sale reps know that holidays and themed celebrations are the perfect marketing tools for their advertisers. In fact, there are holidays dedicated solely to shopping. For instance, Christmas shopping essentially jump-starts the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday — and stores design massive advertising campaigns to make the most of these consumer mega holidays. Teen Vogue is taking note of the success of these other consumer holidays in order to create a new one: Back-to-School Saturday.

In an interview with The New York Times, the vice president and publisher of Teen Vogue, Jason Wagenheim, acknowledged that the back-to-school shopping frenzy, as is, spans over a large range of time before school starts up in late August to early September. However, after some research, he and his colleagues found that back-to-school shopping is at its highest during the second and third weeks of August. As a result, the magazine is setting the new holiday for Aug. 11 in hopes maximizing back-to-school shopping on this day.

The magazine, focused on meeting the life and style needs of young girls ranging between tween and teenager, wants to dedicate one day to back-to-school shopping for their readers. However, this holiday isn’t exclusively targeted at young girls, in fact it hinges on the fact that these girls will drag their parents along with them to foot the bill.

Teen Vogue has already set up partnerships with numerous brand-name advertisers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Staples and Tampax. However, the magazine is not expecting that the mere willpower of teenage girls (as strong as it may be) will guarantee the success of this new holiday. In fact, Deborah Marquardt, vice president of another sponsor, Maybelline New York, told NYT that consumers would not participate in an event that doesn’t offer anything to shoppers in return. Marquardt assured NYT that Back-to-School Saturday shoppers will receive samples and special offers.

The magazine has already begun constructing advertising to get teens and parents ready for the forthcoming holiday. One poster exclaims, “Get ready, get set, get shopping!” There’s no beating around the bush here — this holiday knows its aim and it knows its target audience.  Additionally, like any good marketing campaign, Teen Vogue is prepared to make their social media presence known. They have already prepared the Twitter hashtag, #btss, to categorize and filter the conversation about the holiday.

So far the response to the new consumer holiday appears to be positive. In fact, a mall in Los Angeles has already organized a fashion show in celebration of Back-to-School Saturday. The event is anticipating a staggering 10,000 to 15,000 attendees.

As newspaper ad professionals, this should not come as a shock. Consumer-based events are popular and wildly successful. As chief executive, Gary H. Schoenfeld, of Pacific Sunwear (another retailer of Back-to-School Saturday) told NYT, consumers are “increasingly interested in event-based shopping.”

So, what should newspaper ad departments take away from this?  Well, maybe you should join Teen Vogue in their effort to establish Back-to-School Saturday as a viable national shopping holiday. Talk to your local advertisers, especially supply and clothing stores with merchandise for student-aged shoppers, about advertising in time for Aug. 11.

If the holiday feels a little too new to suggest, take Teen Vogue’s overall concept as an example of innovative advertising and marketing. Event-based shopping holidays are popular among consumers, make sure both you and your advertisers are aware of this and take advantage of it. If you want other examples of holidays to build advertising around, check out ATF’s Business Building Calendar!